Actually, it appears that I can. With any luck, insurance -- crossed fingers -- will cover most of the cost of this dee-luxe home traction machine.
When the osteoarthritis in my neck worsened a couple of months ago, I went back to my Jewell of a physical therapist, and we experimented with several traction devices, including a couple of dinkier and far less effective models. The relief, after a few minutes hooked up to this baby, was immediate and dramatic. I've always had expensive tastes.
The machine works like a bicycle pump, basically, extending a cylinderattached to the underside of a metal arm attached, in turn, to one's roped-down skull. I lock it in between 10 and 15 pounds of pressure and lie still, oblivious to distractions such as the one shown here, for about 10 minutes. After a short time my neck no longer feels like any force is being exerted on it, but at the end of the session, when I turn the valve to "release" and gravity takes over again, it's clear that I've been in traction.
The result of the neck-stretching is a lovely feeling of space where the pain used to be. The relief typically lasts for several hours. Traction also relieves the burning sensation in my feet -- those cervical nerves travel a long way -- that I sometimes experience after neck-crunching activities like cleaning house, gardening, stargazing, or prolonged standing and walking. What's cool is that I can factor in a traction session after doing chores I know will stress my neck.
The things that excite us these days; it's pathetic, I know. Plus I realize that I've just given up any last shred of sex appeal I might have retained up to this point. Although there are undoubted weirdos out there for whom this sort of thing holds some attraction.